Description (from Breaking Glass Pictures):
A supernatural horror film that explores the dark worlds of mental illness, incest, revenge and death. Susan is a troubled woman who gave her daughter Tanya up for dead after she was abused by her father. Now, years later, Tanya is back from the dead to confront and possess Susan with all her deepest fears and desires, sending Susan into a state of madness and gore-filled retribution.
Kate O’Rourke as Susan, Te Kaea Beri as Tanya, Campbell Cooley as Master John, Sandy Lowe as Mistress Ruth, Brendan Gregory as Neil, Ian Mune as Dr. Nelson, Maggie Tarver as Dr. Weaver, Chrystal Ash as Rosie, Matt Easterbrook as Mark, Omar Al Sobky as Crisis Team #1, Andy Sophocleous as Crisis Team #2
Written and Directed by David Blyth
WOUND is one of those movies that is going to either make viewers into rabid fans that will swear up and down it is the best movie ever, EVER, or it will make them walk away feeling like they have wasted 77 minutes of their life that they can never get back. WOUND will be a divisive movie in many ways; some people will see it as a triumph of psychological cinema with a feminist undertone, others will read it as gory misogynist trash filled with images just meant to shock the viewer for the petty reason of just shocking the viewer. I think I’m somewhere in between the opinions; I know that there is more to WOUND than what I got, but I don’t think I enjoyed enough to really care to dig deeper.
WOUND is a story of a woman with mental illness, thrown into the world of bondage and submission. When she was a child, Susan’s father abused her (in the most un-fatherly of ways imaginable), and as an adult she has a lot of problems in her head. The movie begins with Daddy coming over to visit, and Susan promptly knocking him out, tying him up, and taking vengeance on the part of Dad that caused her so much pain. Right from this first “shock” I became wary of WOUND; we know what those scissors are going for, but Blyth felt the need to show in full-on bloody detail Susan castrating her father. While the gore effects are decently well done (you can tell it’s a rubber penis, and all the guys in the audience are thanking their lucky stars you can tell!), the actual presenting of the violence on a silver platter for the audience takes away from the psychological impact this scene could have had. One of the most “hardcore” scenes in RESERVOIR DOGS is when Mr. Blonde cuts off Marvin’s ear, and what makes it so effective, so damning to the psyche of the viewer is the fact that Tarantino cuts away. This allows your brain to fill in the blanks and makes that scene – which would not be tough to do with just a little effects knowledge – all the more horrible for NOT seeing it. Blyth chooses to avoid this psychological subtlety and instead spends a minute of screen time showing scissors cutting a rubber penis and spraying blood everywhere.
It is this heavy-handedness, this “let’s just show it all to them” attitude that first really threw me off with WOUND. I wanted to like this movie. After the initial gore, and once the psychological aspects of the story start coming into play, I was really getting back into WOUND. This is a story, much like LOST HIGHWAY, where you really can’t tell what is truly happening and what is in Susan’s head; I’ve always enjoyed that sort of mindfuck type thriller, where you really need to be paying attention to get what’s real and what’s not. Unfortunately, WOUND really seems to be more pretending to be this kind of film, when really it’s a chance to shock the audience, and that kind of film I really DON’T like. With LOST HIGHWAY, there are notes to the audience, clues that tell you what’s real and what’s not (and if you don’t know what I’m talking about, next time you watch it pay attention for curtains and it might be a little easier to understand!), and the weirdness has its place and its reason for being. Lynch loves to shock and confuse too, but he does it with an overall plan, a roadmap to what the hell is really going on. WOUND seemed much more about confusing just so that when you get to that next gory shock, you are as disoriented as possible. This does me no good as a viewer.
According to info on WOUND I found on the Internet, there was an attempt to ban the film in its homeland of New Zealand because it was “too shocking.” I kind of wonder how true this is; if you look you can find articles talking about the huge protests around many films that in reality are five people with a poster or two. There may have been an attempt to ban this film, but I think that this is more of a way to get your attention as a horror fan; there was nothing so shocking in this film that I had to go wash my eyes out with bleach afterward. Sure, there was a castration, a really messed-up “birthing” scene (the effects guys must have loved that; “Bob, what’cha working on this week for that new movie?” “I get to build a four-foot tall monster vagina!”), some S&M, and some random gore here and there, but nothing so horrible that I would be on a sidewalk calling for the destruction of the hard drive the original shots are held on. Really, this “controversy” seemed to me to be much like THE SUMMER OF MASSACRE (review here) flaunting the fact that it has the Guinness record for most kills in a slasher film; it’s something to get attention and draw in people that would otherwise pass on the film.
The production values of WOUND were very good overall. The screener I was given seemed to have a “squished” image; I think that the film is really supposed to be 16:9, but the screener I have is letterboxed in addition, so everything was a bit off on the images. Still, WOUND looked like that in its true 16:9, it is very nicely shot film. The composition is good overall, and the camera keeps the eye entertained. There’s no awesome long crane shots or anything really technically hard, but it’s also not just putting a camera on a tripod and hitting record. The sound was really nice; the dialogue was never hard to hear, and there is good sound design for the foley and music included as well (for the most part, the music in some club scenes seemed a little off). The production design of the film was also very well executed, with some really interesting costumes and creepy-as-hell masks throughout the movie. The acting was good enough to carry the film without going into low-budget amateur territory, but it was never so great that I really had a lot of connection with anyone other than O’Rourke’s Susan. Her performance was the standout, as it should be since she carries most of the film.
Overall, I just couldn’t get into WOUND. I like what it was trying to do; I just didn’t enjoy how it went about doing it. There were too many things that really detracted from the “is it real” questions for me (for example, at one point a vehicle is stopped by what is supposed to be an “imaginary” character, but the characters that are not crazy stop for her, then she attacks them, but the film makes you realize it was another character that was guilty of the assault; ok so that’s cool but why would these characters stop for the other characters imaginary friend?) and there was way too much emphasis on shocking the audience through imagery instead of the subtleties of psychology. WOUND could have been a movie I would put up there with the works of Lynch and Cronenberg, but instead it went the cheap route with showing instead of implying, and lost my interest.
Overall 4 / 10
WOUND on the IMDb: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1663956/
WOUND for sale: http://www.shop.breakingglasspictures.com/Wound-VCF315.htm
WOUND site: http://www.woundmovie.com